Friday, June 18, 2010
Nightmare Alley (2010)
For the most part, I enjoy horror anthologies. If you don't like a particular story, one is sure to come along and make your movie watching experience somewhat pleasurable (insert middle school sexual joke here___). And with a direct quote on the cover of the DVD of 'Now this is my kind of grossout' from schlock meister extraordinaire Herschell Gordon Lewis, you'd have to think that what you've found in your mailbox is something completely off the wall and entertaining.
The film starts off with a duo of heshers, recounting their concert going experience from the night before. A bum comes along and offers them the latest issue of the comic book Nightmare Alley in exchange for a smoke. When the bum gets too feisty with one of the friends and attacks him, the other takes off running (what a fantastic friend!). Our chicken shit friend soon stops and pulls up in front of a dumpster and starts thumbing through the newly acquired comic book. He sees whats about to transpire with his own person on the pages of the book and a pair of hands reach out of the top of the bin and rip off his head. Cue metal soundtrack and the beginning of our set of tales. Not a bad way to kick things off.
We are then introduced to a cloaked figure who looks like a cross between Svengoolie and The Cryptkeeper. He madly chuckles throughout the film and delivers such cheesy one liners as 'Now that's certainly not the way to get a head in life' after every segment. Instead of giving you a blow by blow recount of each one (because there are far too many here, in my opinion, for an anthology), I'll give you a CliffsNotes version of each:
- A group of thieving cowboys come across a meteor that's landed (the effects are silly here as it looks like a Super Mario Bros. pluck pluck fireball sailing through the air) that appears to be made of gold, one decides to take it for himself, shoots the others and they come back under the power of the meteor as zombies to exact revenge.
- A man buys a plastic rat despite warnings from the shop clerk of its satanic history, takes it home and months later we see him picking up women and using them as the possessed rat's source of soul sucking meals.
- A man who cheated on his wife, meets up with a woman that he met online at her home. A ghoulishly looking woman with an axe strikes him down and we come to find out about a 'tragedy' which occurred in the particular house not too long ago.
- A woman meets a man at her apartment complex pool, invites him in for some adult fun but it's not long before her boyfriend comes home. They argue and she knocks him out with a frying pan and doubles the cooking utensil as a means to bake the severed head of her boyfriend. And she calls the man she met and invites him over for dinner.
- A man dressed as Jack the Ripper pretty much just runs around, in broad daylight, killing people at will. And thats about it.
There are three more stories but honestly, I can't recall them as they weren't the least bit memorable. I'm surprised I recall as much as I did because after the 2nd story, this film got really really boring. There are one too many stories going on and as result, none of them have the effect that they are supposed to. Everything feels rushed through (with each story topping out at a max of about 10 min. each). And without any attention to characters or story, the overall film fails as a result. Nevermind the fact that there were continuity gaps that were much too hard to ignore.
The best part of the film was the appearance of one Danny Marianino. For those of you who may not know, the infamous Mr. Marianino served the legendary Danzig a beat down.
In the end, I just can't bring myself to recommend this. Even to the most diehard of horror fans. There just isn't enough here to make for a quality film and the lack of attention to detail (spelling errors in a story's epilogue, the continuity gaps, and more importantly, the telling of a quality story) is just too much to ignore. A shame, because with a quote from HGL (who I'm a huge fan of) and with a tagline of 'Terror Begins Where The Sidewalk Ends' (evoking images of Shel Silverstein and his creepy art), I really thought this film was going to deliver. If there had been a greater focus on tightening up the stories (or getting rid of some altogether), ensuring each one were of better quality, then I think the filmmakers would've had a hit on their hands.
No trailer for this one. Just take my word for it and stay away.
Cortez the Killer